Mature glossy green leaves of Quercus rubra.
Close-up of Quercus rubra foliage.
Upper branches of a large Quercus rubra grown in a 15-gallon pot.

Quercus rubra (Red Oak)

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Qualifies for Marylanders Plant Trees Coupon ($25 Off) - see below for more info

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Quercus rubra, red oak, is a large oak tree that is the namesake of the red oak group, a common grouping of oaks based on the color of their fall foliage.  Quercus rubra grows to 50-75' tall in yard settings, but often to 100' or taller in the wild. Red oak is known for its glossy green wide-lobed leaves which turn to a bright, eye-catching red hue in the fall. As an oak, Quercus rubra also produces acorns, but first fruit doesn't typically appear for 20 to 25 years, and red oak only begins producing larger amounts of acorns when it reaches 40 to 50 years of age. Acorns are average in appearance, but caps may be more flat and saucer-shaped than other species.

Quercus rubra is typically planted for ornamental or ecological uses, but is a relatively hardy species once established, capable of withstanding drought, dry soil, and air pollution. Fall foliage makes it a great pick as a specimen tree, while overall shape and large habit makes it excellent as a summer shade tree. Acorns are ecologically valuable to a number of species including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, blue jays, and various species of squirrel, and waterfowl.

In addition to acorn value, many Quercus species are regarded as important keystone plants for their support of larval butterflies and moths, and Quercus rubra is no different; red oak is a host to the caterpillars of several species of duskywing moth and hairstreak butterfly, including the endangered hickory hairstreak (Satyrium caryaevorus).

Straight Species, Native to U.S., Native to Maryland, and Native to Eastern Shore
Mature Tree Height: Large: over 30 feet
Sun (6+ hours)
Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry and Well-drained
Soil Type: Wide Tolerance
Bloom Time: Spring
Flower Color: Yellow and Green
Foliage Color: Green
Features: Attracts Birds, Attracts Wildlife, Attracts Butterflies, Attracts Pollinators, Host Plant for Butterflies or Moths, Keystone Plant, and Fall Color
Tolerances: Black Walnut Tolerant, Clay Soil Tolerant, Drought Tolerant, and Deer Tolerant
Garden Type: Meadow, Woodland Garden, Specimen Tree, and Shade Tree

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Marylanders Plant Trees

From the Maryland Department of Natural Resources:

"We launched Marylanders Plant Trees in 2009 to encourage citizens and organizations to partner with the State to plant new trees. Today, citizens can still take advantage of our coupon program to receive $25 off the purchase of a native tree at 86 participating nurseries across the State. The State cost of $20 per coupon is funded through a settlement from a major power generator for Clean Air Act violations, in partnership with the Office of the Attorney General, and Maryland’s participating tree vendors are generously absorbing the remaining $5.

Trees must be planted in the state of Maryland to qualify for $25 off coupon.
Wholesale customers do not qualify.